Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where do we go from here?

It's over. The Republican majority in both houses of congress is gone. Republicans took it on the chin last Tuesday, it was ugly. And one of my favorite politicians is staying home, George Allen was defeated by Jim Webb. I will use a separate post to talk about why I think he lost, for now let's just say that Washington is worse off for his defeat.

It's been over a week since the elections and I meant to write about them sooner. However I got slammed at work and had to leave town a few times so I didn't have much time to blog. Normally I don't like it when people say things like that in their blogs but I just wanted to point out that I wasn't ducking the blog simply because the Republicans lost.

Sure it has hurt to think about. It hurts to think about the lost opportunities. It hurts to think about the Looney Tunes episodes we are about to go through with the likes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in charge of things. And it hurts to think about the message this sends to our troops abroad, the fact that Al Quaeda has come out and praised the shift makes me sick. But the honest truth is that I didn't have time to get all these thoughts and feelings in to this blog.

Why do I think we lost? I think that a variety of things compounded to create the perfect political storm. The Democrats and the Drive-By-Media (DBM from here on) did a good job in making this election a referendum on Republicans. In other words voters didn't so much as vote FOR democrats as vote AGAINST republicans. The traditional democratic voters were already drunk on 6 years of anti-Bush anti-Republican rhetoric, there was no way they were voting for a Republican. But then the DBM was able to target the more moderate/fiscal conservative voter by among other things making the Republicans seem not conservative enough. Pork barrel spending, no border security, Mark Early scandal, a huge medicare bill and no good news from Iraq(unless you actually look for it) all were used to bash republicans. Those are things that don't really stir up the liberal crazies but resonate deeply within the base and turn off the more moderate/libertarian voter.

I do think it's interesting that the democrats for six years screamed and bemoaned that Republicans weren't liberal enough. But they only got their resounding election victory when they started accusing Republicans of not being conservative enough. I mean how many people did you hear about voting for higher taxes, hearings on the war, "redeployment" of our troops, civil rights for terrorists, and more government involvement in health care? Nope you heard about how Republicans want to torture people, hate blacks and let them die in Katrina, and only want to tax the poor.

But to a point the things that the DBM and democrats harped on were true. Many Republicans were more obsessed with keeping their jobs than standing up for conservative principles that got them elected. The sad thing is that the DBM was able to use the "Culture of corruption", "Failed Iraq policies" and "Big government" memes as blanket smears of all Republicans. So good principled conservatives like George Allen, and Rick Santorum were unfortunate casualties.

Last week Jonah Goldberg said that the GOP had betrayed it's base:
Let's take the Democrats at their word. They wanted this election to be a referendum on President Bush and the GOP. And despite valiant efforts by the Republicans to make the election a choice between two parties, the Dems succeeded in making it thumbs-up or thumbs-down on just one: the GOP.

And so the Republicans were doomed. The cliches are no less true for being cliches. The GOP came to power in 1994 promising lean government, and it has become the party that needs to unbuckle its pants and loosen its belt two notches after every lobbyist-paid meal. The GOP once had the reputation of being able to run the government like a business and wars like a finely tuned machine. But under compassionate conservatism, government became a faith-based charity.

As for the war(s), the finely-tuned machine is clogged with Iraqi sand. The Democrats think the only solution is to "redeploy" the whole kit and caboodle out of there for repairs. To Bush's credit, he understands that wars, particularly this one, need to be won. But, alas, the Democrats won the argument at the polls.
In other words not conservative enough.

Bob Tyrell agrees:
The Democrats' victories do not signal a liberal recrudescence in the republic. Many of the incoming Democrats ran as conservatives. That is because the conservative drift of the country continues. As many as two dozen of the newly elected Democrats ran affirming traditional social values, low taxes or other conservative desiderata. In the long term things continue to look bleak for the Old Order. Bob Casey, the candidate who beat Sen. Rick Santorum, is a social conservative whose father was barred from the 1992 Democratic convention because of his opposition to abortion. Jim Webb, who ran against Sen. George Allen, was a Reagan Republican and President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Navy. In the House newly elected Democrats ran as advocates of gun owners' rights and traditional values. One even signed the Americans for Tax Reform's pledge against higher taxes (three Democratic incumbents in the House and one in the Senate have done the same).

The old order and the angry left do remain at the top of the incoming Capitol Hill majority, and they are going to play the role that we have come to expect from them. They are going to attempt to raise taxes, spending and the spectacle of congressional investigations. The Democrats, once they won the second midterm election of the Reagan years, entertained us with their Iran-contra hearings even as the Old Cowboy proceeded to end the Cold War with the Soviets. Expect nothing less from Madame Nancy Pelosi and the dirty-mouthed Harry Reid.

There will also be drama from the Republicans and this drama will be salubrious. Starting perhaps even before this column is off to the printer, the Republican leadership of the House will be gone. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert the leaders revealed themselves to be dull-witted and inept. Their spending spree has offended the conservative rank and file for years. Hastert's flat-footed response to the Mark Foley scandal might well have cost the Republicans the election, virtually reversing the momentum that was then going their way. It is time for him to go.

Most likely he will be replaced by one of the young conservatives from the solidly conservative Republican Study Committee. Indiana's Rep. Mike Pence will probably run for minority leader and Arizona's John Shadegg will run for whip. Both are splendid representatives of the New Order, the order whose political reforms began with Ronald Reagan, continued through the Contract With America, and have been responsible for the economic growth of the past two decades that forced even Bill Clinton to intone, "The era of big government is over." Bring on the future, a future that will not include Pelosi and Reid beyond 2008.

So where do we go from here? Well we do not "play nice" with the Democrats, they were all about claiming that Bush had no mandate when he got %51 of the vote in the last Presidential election, they certainly do not have a liberal mandate now that they have run as more conservative than Republicans. We also hold our elected representatives to a higher conservative standard. Their job is not to keep their job, their job is to advance the ideals of the electorate who sent them there(and this does not include lobbyist lunches).

And finally we keep our conservative ideas, and ideals in the spotlight while at the same time highlighting the folly and backwardness of socialist/liberal thinking. In other words we keep blogging, expect the best from our side and the worst from theirs.

And pray for our troops!!

Linked to Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, bRight & Early.